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Posts Tagged ‘conference’

Repositories and CRIS WRN event article

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 August, 2010

Nick Sheppard, Leeds Met University (aka MrNick on twitter) has written a good article in the most recent Ariadne about the Welsh Repository Network/JISC workshop back in May looking at the interaction between CRISes* and repository systems.  As I was unable to get to this event due to prior commitments, it was good to have a chance to catch up on the discussions.

I was interested to note that a CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) can go by many names – given that the UoL Research Office often refer to them as RIMS – Research Information Management Systems.  They’re not alone as many universities seem to have renamed them as RMAS or ERA and the like.  But at their heart they are systems that not only gather in research publication data (and much more), but actively link to other systems – chief among them from my perspective interlinking with a repository.

The question “Is an IR a subset of a CRIS?” posed by one speaker (Simon Kerridge, ARMA) is an interesting one.  Having seen a number of recent CRIS vendor demos, it is one that is clearly approached in different ways by different organisations.  Some very much see the IR as a satellite system, fed largely (but not entirely) by the CRIS.  For others it is more of a subsumed system – with a visible front end peeking out, but the rest of the body absorbed by the greater whole.  I must confess so long as the workflows for such issues as rights verification and data management are still handled by the elite repository administration team I don’t have an especial problem either way.  However, if a CRIS/Repository union means that a repo is just a reflection of the CRIS data set, locked down without the additional resources embodied and ingested by the IR over and above the REF related items; well then I’m a little more uneasy.

The talk from St Andrews’ Data architect Anna Clements (which came with some interesting but not readily comprehensible diagrams) brought up the CERIF standard.  Interesting that St Andrews has been pursuing links to their repository for far longer than many other institutions, which has demonstrated the advantages of working closely together with research support personnel (something I’ve benefited from here at Leicester in the past two years and can heartily concur).

Meanwhile William Nixon and Valerie McCutchean of Glasgow gave a very useful overview of the integration of the repository with a CRIS.  I was able to plot from my own experiences whereabouts we are in this process here at Leicester.  They raised a valuable point about author authorities – something that has long concerned me as an issue to which I don’t have a ready solution.  In some regards I’m hoping the CRIS implementation here will allow us to tackle and resolve this at that point – given that unique IDing of authors is something that is key for bibliometrics and REF returns alike.  I notice William doesn’t appear to have offered a solution though in his talk, which is perhaps a slight concern for me.  I wonder how difficult it is going to be to match an author of a non-REF item that routes into the repository from beyond the CRIS with the institutional verfiied author list.  And what about external additional authors?  I suspect this is going to be a major issue for me and my team to resiolve and one that I’d welcome external insight on.

Finally my old friend Jackie Knowles talked about the pitfalls of implementation – most of which I am, thankfully, already well aware.  I think we definiely need more of these warts and all case study examples though; as at the end of the day those of us working at the sharp end of repository/CRIS interlinking will need to know how to work around so many of them.

It sounds like this was an excellent day (and perhaps in serious need for near future repeating!) and a definite must read artilce for anyone about to establish, or already working towards, a CRIS/Repository interlink.

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Posted in Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Summer School for Repository Managers 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 June, 2010

Madingley Hall, Cambridge - venue for the RSP summer schoolA week or so ago I attended the RSP summer school at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge.  The Summer School has been running for three or four years now (I helped organise the first one) but until now I’d never found the right time to attend.  Originally these three day focussed study events were aimed at first time repository managers, but clearly the support remit of the RSP has broadened considerably.  It could be seen from the delegate who ran the breadth of experience from old hands like myself or Graham Stone (Huddersfield, and UKCoRR chair) through to people only just taking their first steps. 

To cover an event in any real depth would take far too many lines of text, so what I’ll attempt to do here is try and capture a flavour of the event, with any especial highlights. 

Day 1
As with all events day one began with the gathering of the 20 or so delegates from across the country, some of whom had been travelling since before 5am in order to get there.  Following an introduction to event from Dominic Tate and Jackie Wickham of the RSP we moved to an ice-breaker exercise, creating a poster to encapsulate the discrete elements that make up a repository – and then selling them to the group at large.  There were some interesting insights that came out here including the challenges of the REF, working with academics as well as the technological barriers to progress.  In many respects this was a good opportunity for some reflection on our advocacy work and the differing messages to different stakeholder groups. 

After tea the first talk was from Tanya Abikorr of MIT Open CourseWare.  Her focus was more on educational repositories than institutional, and was possibly of more interest to those working on coursepack digitisation.  What was very interesting to note was the size of the MIT team working on this (at least 7 full time staff), and some of the comments about what is permissable under US copyright law.  As one of the speakers on day 2 pointed out, UK copyright law is actually far more restrictive than this.  Finally Graham Stone talked about the Huddersfield repository experience in some depth. 

Day 2
The second day was the most hectic and packed, and despite a cancellation of the first speaker the delegates engaged in a long (possibly overlong) session on IPR, copyright and repositories from Laurence Bebbington (Aberdeen University).  There was much of value in what Laurence had to say, although at times it seemed to take him at his word on what is and is not permissable would freeze developments in the repository field.  He was followed by Bill Hubbard (CRC, Nottingham University) looking at institutional mandates and compliance.  While few delegates had an OA mandate, most institutions represented are considering implementing them in one form or another.  There was a considerable amount of talk focussed on the carrots we can offer, contrasted with the more stick like mandates, during this session too. 

Following a brief update on the RSP’s work from Dominic, David Davies (University of Warwick) presented the results of some research looking at what people look for when searching for online learning resources.  I must confess that I found David’s talk hard to follow, and while the discovery and exposure of the contents of our repositories is often paramount in my mind, I found it problematic to join what he was espousing with our every day practice.  The day was capped by the delightful Robin Armstrong-Viner (Aberdeen University) who gave a fascinating talk looking at how a repository and CRIS can work together in practice.  While a few technical hitches denied Robin the practical demonstration he’d planned at the end, it was still fascinating insight as to how a CRIS can change the workflows and relationships that repository staff have within an institution for the better. 

Day 3
The final day was very practically focussed with a reflective session on advocacy from Dominic echoing at least in part some of the previous two days activities and coverage.  One thing that was clear from delegate comments is that there is still much work to be done in this regard within most if not all institutions; and that we should not be downhearted by the repetition that is required.  We also touched briefly on the some of the work of May’s RSP Advocacy workshop.  complementing Dominic’s session nicely was Nicky Cashman (Aberystwyth University) who gave a fine overview of using statistics as a tool.  While the mathematical components weren’t new to me, some of the approaches and uses to which Nicky puts them had me scribbling notes for future consideration. 

The final full session from Ian McCormick (ARMA) was a little disappointing.  As an overview of ARMA it was fine, however as to the role at which repository managers, UKCoRR and RSP could play in tandem with the organisation this was much less clear.   What was clear from the delegates was increasingly we are all working more closely with our research office type colleagues with whom we share much more commonality on many issues than those in the libraries within which many repositories are based. 

Networking...in the sun

Image courtesy of Misha Jepson

Overall though it is safe to say that this was an excellent and information packed event.  The opportunities for networking (and in my case to also lose at croquet twice) were especially very valuable, and continued throughout the delicious meals and long into the night.  I’ve returned to work with a much greater insight into what is going on across the country, as well as numerous practical ideas to apply within our repository work.  As is always the case at these kind of events in one way or another we are all facing similar challenges ranging from academic engagement, compliance, deposition, changing copyright environment, staffing challenges and of course the REF.  But what is heartening is the number of different ways in which people have found to meet these; and while not all are applicable to Leicester’s environment many are. 

Slides from the event can be found here.

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Advocacy – it ain’t what you say, it’s the way that you say it

Posted by gazjjohnson on 17 May, 2010

Kings Fund, LondonAnd with apologies for the terrible grammar in that title.  Friday I went for my second jaunt of the month down to London to attend their Communication Skills for Advocacy event. As someone who’s run a few events of this kind myself in a previous life I wasn’t originally planning to attend, until Dominic Tate of the RSP invited me along as a facilitator.  I’m glad he did as the day was actually incredibly useful, even to someone like myself who likes to think of himself as an old hand.

The event took place in the one of the rather wonderful conference suites at the Kings Fund, Cavendish Square.  Along with about 30 other repository managers and workers we were welcomed to the event by CRC’s Bill Hubbard.  The bulk of the day was facilitated by Deborah Dalley whom did an excellent job (although I’m not sure I was overly keen on the use of the phrase “Did that resonate with you?” – but that might have been a simple gut reaction). 

During the morning we looked initially at the four stages of effective influencing:

  • What do you want?
  • Who are you trying to influence?
  • What power do you have?
  • How to communicate the message

Following on from this we did an audit of our own sources of power, which helped us to understand where we were perhaps coming from ourselves.  I think I concluded that personally within my role I end up using Coercive, Expert, Reward, Personal, Information and Connection sources of power; but was weaker on position (aka authority) and Association Power.  We also took a look at the perception position that we adopt with respect to influencing, the importance of adopting the 2nd position (that of the other person) to truly understand where they are coming from and why they might not want to agree with us.   Before we moved into a coffee break we turned to examine channels of communication – which I was proud to say I managed to have a large number of.  Okay, so I’ve plenty of ways to communicate with people, I just need to work on my influencing skills somewhat was the message I emerged from the morning with.

After coffee we looked at putting influence into practice to develop a short pitch (2 minute) to an academic.  In the group I was in I can’t say that we developed a clear pitch, but we did have an excellent discussion about how we would make these kinds pitches in our own organisations.  We didn’t have to deliver our pitch, which was a shame as I think it might have helped the groups focus down to a practical output a little bit more.  Then before lunch we looked at the challenging realm of understanding and managing resistance; including how resistance manifests and the steps we can take to address and hopefully overcome it.  Quite a key point here was not emotionally engage but to view resistance as part of a broader context – 80% of our first thoughts on hearing an idea are negative, so this it is only natural for people to resist.

After a fabulous bento box lunch (kudos Dominic) we went back into group work to generate as many objection to repositories and open access as possible, from the academic’s perspective.  Or as I suspect ones that we ourselves have heard our academics talk about. 

This was followed by perhaps the most challenging part of the day when myself, Dominic and Bill moved to the front and essentially tried to offer our collective wisdom in how to overcome these objections.  Interesting our approaches were divergent at times, but generally just as valid.  Hopefully the rest of the room were able to take something away – although I’m aware we ran out of time to deal with all the objections on the day.

After another tea break we broke into threes to roleplay academics and repository managers (and observers) with specific problems and objections.  This was a chance for us to put all our learning into action, and naturally a chance for me to roll our my thespian skills once more.  I hope my group enjoyed my embodiment of an academic!  Finally we wrapped the day with feedback on this session and thoughts about the day.

This was a really excellent day, and I’ve come away with some ideas and plans that I’ll put into action the next time I’m speaking to a group of or individual academics.  It was interesting to note that a lot of the objections we face are very similar, which gives me hope that the routes to resolving them will become plainer overtime.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Information Literacy within our Institution: Thoughts from LILAC

Posted by katiefraser on 15 April, 2010

LILAC Tweet Wordle

Word Cloud of tweets during LILAC 2010 courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepattern/

Just before Easter I attended the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference, held this year in Limerick, Ireland. It was my first chance to step back and think about my new role as an Information Librarian at the university, so great timing for me.

I attended a range of different talks on areas relevant to my own personal development (on librarians’ roles as teachers, and case studies of online tool use), but in this post I’m focusing on talks which I felt had institutional significance in terms of what we’re doing with information literacy, how we’re doing it, and what else we can do.

What are we doing?
The amount and kind of information literacy teaching inevitably varies within as well as between institutions: different courses and different disciplines have different needs. However, when responsibilities for information literacy are split between different departments and services across a university there are obvious benefits from tracking who does what: to make sure students acquire key skills, and to identify opportunities for collaboration. I believe librarians, as specialists in the area, have the responsibility to make sure these skills are developed, even if we are not always responsible for delivering them ourselves.

Gillian Fielding’s presentation on The Information Literacy Audit at the University of Salford described an institutional audit as one way of doing this. The team at Salford took a checklist of key information skills to programme leaders across the university to determine what training was provided, how it was provided, at which level (pre-entry, induction, year 1, 2, or 3, or at Masters or PhD) and by which department / service. Despite difficulties with timing of the audit 70% of undergraduate course leaders participated, and it seemed like a really good way of opening up dialogues between central services and departments about what needs covering and how it can be offered. It certainly sounded like information I’d find useful, although they did have large number of subject specialists to carry out the audit compared to us!

How are we doing it?
One of the big themes of the conference for me was about how the library collaborates with others in the university. In fact, the workshop I was at the conference to lead (focusing on central services’ roles in supporting research student communities of practice) was looking explicitly at the library’s role in the wider university community. Sophie Bury from York University in Canada covered a similar theme in her presentation on academics’ views of information literacy.

The academics she surveyed pretty universally agreed that information literacy skills (as defined by the ACRL standards) were important. Furthermore, the majority thought librarians and academics should be working together to deliver sessions, a finding that she noted was echoed in some previous studies, with others suggesting that librarians should be handling this area. However, she also found a fairly even split between academics believing that sesssions should take place outside or within class time. This is an ongoing issue: sessions which take places outside of class time are not as well attended, but it’s easy to understand why academics are reluctant to jettison discipline-specific content for more general skills. How we fit information literacy into the student experience AND the student timetable is something I’ll be thinking about more over the summer as I look at my teaching for next year.

What else can we do?
Finally, as well as more ‘traditional’ information literacy, the conference also got me thinking about ways in which information literacy teaching can impact on a broader range of skills (see also Selina’s previous post about Critical Appraisal). Stephanie Rosenblatt from California State University gave a talk entitled They can find it, but they don’t know what to do with it looking at students’ use of academic literature and found that students were already competent enough at finding scholarly literature (the main focus of her teaching) but that they didn’t know how to use the academic materials. Should librarians be developing a more rounded approach to teaching information literacy? Aoife Geraghty and her colleagues from the Writing Centre at the University of Limerick discussed a way in which centralised student services could work together to support such activities.

Lastly, Andy Jackson from the University of Dundee ran a workshop on generic graduate attributes, challenging us to develop attributes such as ‘cultural and social and ethics’ into teaching Endnote and Refworks use. This was immense fun (once we’d worked out that attribution and intellectual property could be seen as cultural and social ethical issues!) and made me think about all the different angles and educational opportunities that even the most basic software training workshops offer.

Where Now?
The conference ended with a Keynote from Dr Ralph Catts talking about developing our research methods and evaluation (in time for the conference next year!). The appeal for librarians to involve educational researchers in their planning and evaluation was a little misplaced for me (I have a background in educational research, and was rankled by the implication that librarians universally lacked the ability to evaluate, rather than the resources to do so). However, I think his message about the importance of evidence in instigating, developing and evaluating our practices was sound. I definitely hope to use the research I learnt about at LILAC in the next few months, and I hope to do more reflection and evaluation as I settle in to the post.

Posted in Staff training, Subject Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

JISC Conference: April 13th 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 15 April, 2010

Round the corner from the conferenceThis Tuesday I travelled down to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in a very sunny Westminster to attend the annual JISC Conference.  This event draws a lot of senior people from across the educational sector; and it’s possible to run into more than a few VCs over coffee.  It’s also a rich opportunity to hear from the broadest cross section of educational computing projects.  What follows are my notes

 The day was introduced by Malcolm Reed and Chair of JISC then JISC Chair Sir Timothy O’Shea. Spoke about current value as well as what the impact the UK election and reduced funding means we as a sector will be dealing with.  The next 10 years will be difficult as the environmental impact as well as funding will impact on HE computing.  He highlighted an article in the Guardian (14/Apr/2010) on HE, commenting that it complemented the lively pre-conference debate 150 people yesterday led by JISC Vice-Chair.  Suggested to go back and have one key thing to implement.

Martin Bean, VC OU: The Learning Journey: From Informal to Formal

A packed hall of listeners

An anarchist at heart who sought to spark discussions and possibly put a few backs up; with imitable Australian bravado.  Distance education is on fire – because you cannot build enough brick and mortar institutions to keep pace with growth in HE; and thus need to look at alternative delivery modes.  Distance learning is growth area, as cannot build enough brick and mortar HEIs.  But 1/3 HE students are in private institutions – going to see a growth in private organisations providing this kind of educational role.

 Challenges for the custodians – need to educate citizens for new kinds of work.  STEM is key for a competitive workforce for the next 10-50-100 years for innovation.  Need to think about transformation of information into meaningful knowledge.  John Naisbitt book Megatrends was mentioned.  Learning in the workplace needs to become essential, and supported by HEIs more.

 Modern students need constant stimulation and hate complexity (among other aspects of their  desires) but does this mean we need to dumb down our degrees, or shouldn’t we adapt to the modern student expectations?  Is there nothing to be said for a proper old fashioned solid and complex education, I wondered  – where does that take us in terms of teaching critical thinking?

 What can be done to break down the barriers?  Multichannel.  YouTube and iTunes university – 342,000 downloads a week for the OU – in the top 10 in U channel; and most of that traffic comes from outside the UK, pay off is that many of their new students first encounter the OU in this way and are drawn in by the brand.  Informal learning, more cooperative environment and need for flexibility for educational institutions.  LLL need the ability to move in and out of HE formally and informally.  Comments that the D.E. Act is going to seriously interfere with this ability to evolve and use new patterns of education, research and training.

Living with IPR – the web, the law and academic practise

View out the window at lunchCharles Oppenheim opened with a passionate and scholarly dismantling of the appallingly poorly debated and rushed through Digital Economy Bill (now Act).  Then Jason Miles-Campbell (his sporran is a wifi hot spot allegedly) from JISC Legal spoke.  In the next five years there is unlikely to be changes to copyright protected items, you need to find an exemption. Gave an overview of the small changes in the law and clarifications under law for reuse of items.  Digital Economy act – what’s going to happen to institutions – some time to go to see if we are subscribers or ISPs as there will need to be case law.  Note that D.E. Act calls for a graduated response to infringement.  Talked about the Newsbin vs big media companies case.  Newsbin was indexing infringing material – in court case they were found to be infringing.  Court noted what we need to do to have an exemption for such a thing; Newsbin was effectively authorising infringement – encouraged copyright infringement by employing editors.  11 words effective of being substantial.  No good making a large amount of material available to staff, if they’re unsure if they can legally use it.  Patchwork licenses are a problem – different aspects of resources covered by different legislation.  May mean we need to ditch some resources that we won’t be able to use.  Need to make life easy, but we also need to be able to take risk decisions – e.g. like driving – there are times when 32mph in a 30 zone can be okay, but you have to make the judgement call.

Naomi Korn and Emma Beer, Copyright Consultants spoke next about orphan works- those where author is unknown or untraceable – they are significant barrier to public access, due to length of implicit copyright.  The internet is a major source of orphan works.  Items hundreds of years old can still be in © until end of 2039!  In a project 302 staff hours were spent to give only 8 permissions received for use in the British Library sound archive – massive staff effort to little effective impact.  EU Mile Project -registry of Image Orphan Works.  EU ARROW Project – accessible registries of rights information and orphan works.  One thing is clear dealing with orphan works even for major bodies and projects requires a lot of work and staff time, something that those of working in open access can be aware of.  In D.E. Bill Clause 43 tried to offer an exemption.  The D.E. Act means that for now you should only use orphan works within a risk management framework, as not clear quite what the impact of this will be.

Project OOER – best name of the day? #jisc10 Organising Open Educational Resources.  Barriers for sharing different levels of IPR awareness, licensing awareness etc.

 Open Access Session, Neil Jacobs (Chair)

Talked about the report authored by Charles Oppenheim et al late last year.  Moves to electronic only can help reduce costs in the scholarly communications sector.  Alma Swann gave an overview of the work looking at three models of repos gold, green, and role of repos as locations of quality assurance and publication – described by Alma as more futuristic.  Libraries do things differently, and this affected the model that they created.   Though unis increase in size the benefits don’t necessarily.  The Salford VC and Librarian of Imperial College spoke about how they’ve gone about making a strong case for open access, fiscally, at their institutions.

Community Collections and the power of the crowd, Catherine Grout

In a fascinating session looking at crowdsourcing and citizen science we heard from Kate Lindsay (Oxford, WWI Poetry Digital Archive) Arfon Smith (Oxford, Galaxy Zoo), William Perrin (Web innovator and Community Activist) and Katherine Campbell (BBC, History of the World) about 4 very different areas of community engagement.  From sourcing and augmenting first world war artefacts from across the country (including a roadshow – turn up and digitise!), though the power of Galaxy Zoo’s galactic classification project – which I’m proud to say I’m one of the thousands involved in.  What was clear from these two talks is the scale of what is achievable is amplified many, many times beyond what can be achieved through using more conventional team based approaches, and that the successes far outweigh the concerns over quality (indeed the “normalisation” of so many repeated analyses ala Wikipedia was touched on).

 William took a different approach building up a resource from the ground up, and using it as a focus for drawing a community together physically as well as virtually.  He showed some excellent examples of what you can do when a community develops a local Web resource rather than just one activist (I am reminded of the local Sileby village Website for an example of how NOT to approach this – locked down and run by a small clique).

For the twitter over view see here, here and here

Posted in Staff training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Innovations in Reference Management Part 3

Posted by selinalock on 25 January, 2010

Moving Targets: the role of web preservation in supporting sustainable citation (Richard Davis & Kevin Ashley)

This was a rather different talk to most of the others at the event as it was looking more at the question of how we can cite the preserved version of ephemeral type of data, such as blogs, that we often see on the web these days.

  • Some web preservation already happening: URI/DOI/Handles & other solutions, Wayback machine and UK Webarchive.
  • Are we educating people to use links to sustainable archives/ Should we be recommending linking to the UK Webarchive version and not the original version?
  • Used the example of citing a blog post that might disappear.
  • Will our “collections” look different in future, will they be blog type posts rather than journal articles or books?
  • Talked about the JISC project ArchivePress which allows you to use a RSS feed to create a preserved blog archive: this will allow Universities to create their own repository of blogs. For example, it could integrate with Research Repositories that use applications like DSpace. Should the Leicester Research archive be looking into preserving research blogs as well as other research outputs?
  • Heidelberg University and others have created a Citation Repository for transitory web pages: this was specifically to deal with the problem that their researchers were having when researching China, due to the volatile nature of the Chinese internet. There might be rights issues with this approach but many of the original web pages had disappeared.
  • Should we be teaching people about sustainable resources/publishing as part of our information literacy efforts?
  • Can argue that citing a URL is like citing the shelfmark of a book in a library, as it’s the location of the information rather than the information itself. Should we be looking for a better citation system?
  • Possible solutions: Institutions can offer archive mechanisms, authors need to use archive mechanisms, if a blog is being preserved than it needs to expose that permanent citable link for people to use (e.g. ArchivePress link) and permalinks should be a bit more “perm”!

Help me Igor – taking references outside traditional environments (Euan Adie, Nature.com)

Euan gave an overview of some of the projects they are working on as part of the Nature.com remit:

  • Looked at how referencing might be achieved if you were using GoogleWave as a collaborative tool to write articles etc.
  • Decided to create a 3rd party GoogleWave widget called Igor.
  • Igor lets you fetch references from Connotea or PubMed and insert them into the Wave: it does this by typing in a command in Wave.
  • Igor uses an open API to retrieve data (XML or RDF) and is only a proof of concept widget at the moment. it is OpenSource and people are welcome to develop it further.
  • Euan did point out that the formats that most reference software uses (RIS/BIBtex) are not very easy to use with web APIs.
  • Mentioned ScienceBlogs: an initiative to aggregate well known science blogs through Nature.com. E.g. finds if blogs link to Nature articles (via html, DOI, PubMed): blogs already comment on articles when they’re published so Nature wants to link the comments/blog posts to the articles.
  • Have a API available that allows you to feed in am article DOI and see what blogs aggregated through Nature.com mention that article.
  • Mobile devices: have made Mac app Papers available on iPhone. thinks people are not as likely to read articles on mobiles but save the reference for later instead.
  • Nature.com always willing to experiment and collaborate with other projects.

Posted in Collection management, Meetings, Referencing, Technology & Devices, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovations in Reference Management Part 2

Posted by selinalock on 21 January, 2010

These talks focus more on tools for researchers:

Social Bookmarking for paper discovery, or why keeping your references openly on the web is good for academia (Kevin Emamy, CiteUlike)

Kevin gave an overview of how CiteUlike sees its role in helping researchers and how it works.

  • There is a huge amount of research information out there, so how do you find the good stuff?
  • CiteULike helps you save reference data as you search via a CiteULike browser button, or inputting hte URL into your CiteULike account. You can gather the references from a lot of well known science resources, add it to a CiteULike group and/or tag it for you and other people to find. Tags help subject collections grow.
  • Can have RSS feeds at tag, article, user or collection/library level.
  • Helps with social discovery by automatically making your collection of reference open for anyone else to see/search.
  • If you visit someone you find it interesting to browse their bookshelves – CiteULike allows people to do the same thing with your personal research bookshelf/library.
  • Allows you to find socially filtered information and follow users/groups/tags you like.
  • Can search the CiteULike database and also see what the post popular papers are via CiteGeist.
  • Can also get data out by downloading machine readable data sets/libraries etc and/or export to other tools such as Mendeley/EndNote/RefWorks.
  • Set-up recommendations (you might also like…) service to find tags/articles/people you might like.
  • No interest in providing cite’n’write type functionality as main function is the social discovery aspect.

I do wonder how biased this and other tools are towards the sciences? Are there other subjects using them, or do they tend to use other tools such as delicious?

 Mendeley: from reference management to real-time impact metrics (Victor Henning)

I’d been hearing a few things about Mendeley in the twitterverse, so I was interested to see it in action.

  • It is being produced by ex-researchers or recent postgrads (no librarians… they said this is a blessing and a curse!), and the main aim is to help researchers manage and discover knowledge.
  • Venture capitalist funded (some of the people behind Skype and Last.fam) and they have taken a lot of their ideas and model from music sites like Last.fm.
  • There is a Mendeley desktop app and a web account, which you can synch up.
  • The desktop app is designed to retrieve bibliographic data from PDF articles you have saved, and create a searchable database of your PDFs.
  • Can also read and annotate PDFs. helps you organise your research material and allows you to search within the fulltext a PDF and across all the PDFs you have saved.
  • Citation plugin (write’ncite type app) for Word and OpenOffice.
  • Can drag and drop references into Googledocs, emails and other apps.
  • Can create shared collections (up to 10 people) and synchronise your PDF libraries across everyone’s desktop app.
  • The desktop app synchronises with the web account and uploads/downloads your data and PDFs (but 500Mb limit on amount of data).
  • Social aspect: Mendeley automatically makes all your references private, but gives you the option to share with your Mendeley contacts if you wish using collaboration tools.
  • Getting data into Mendeley (other than via your saved PDFs): import from CiteULike or Zotero, bookmarklet fro extracting data from academic databases or web sites using COinS
  • Data goes into web account and then downloads to desktop app when synchronised.
  • Impact Data: can look into what is the most read document/author/tag on the desktop app. Also working on a recommendation engine based on user preferences and analysing keyword and fulltext of papers.
  • Can creat public collections: subscribe by email or RSS and embed collection in other websites.
  • Web app has user profiles where you can share info on your publications, appearances, teaching etc
  • More than 100k users and 11million fulltext research papers uploaded (217 million references) – at current rate of growth it could become the biggest research database within a year!
  • What could this mean for impact factors? – potential for Mendeley to measure the interaction with the actual documents: the audience for it, how long people spend reading it, repeat readings, peer-review via comments/ratings, data available in real-time once paper published. Data on type of reader, impact within discipline or regions of world.
  • Real-time Mendeley stats available via web app and will be releasing an API to make data freely available for people to study.
  • Future plans: sustainable funding by charging for premium accounts (where you can have more file space), for fine grained stats, for shared accounts with more than 10 people and an enterprise version for companies.
  • Future plans: collaboration tools for assigning tasks and for discussion, recommendation engine, search (but not download) fulltext), custom stats, integrate with library systems/openURL resolvers, free alternative to EndNote etc, free addition to Scopus/WoS.

As the event had quite a few Librarians in the room, one of the first questions was about the legality of sharing PDFs and copyright implications, as when you create a shared collection for up to 10 people the whole group gets access to all the PDFs everyone else in the group has uploaded. It wasn’t particularly clear to me from victor’s answer exactly what they are doing about copyright implications other than taking PDFs down when publishers notify them that they are unhappy (they mentioned Springer).

Their argument seems to be that there is a lot of research papers that are free to share, so there are legitimate uses for the software. Another is that researchers often email papers to each other and this offers a more efficient way to share them, and that staying within copyright law is the responsibility of the individual rather than the software. Not sure how the publishers will react to this over time…!

I’ve not had a chance to play with CiteULike or Mendeley yet so I’d be interested to hear about your experiences with them.

As a library service we need to discuss whether we teach/train people on these tools, as well as on the ones we already have available (EndNote/RefWorks), and the support implications. I’m leaning towards doing sessions to make people aware of these free services but making it clear that we cannot provide technical support for them. What do others think? Anyone else already teaching them? (I know AJCann was looking at using CiteULike in a Biological Science course.)

Posted in Service Delivery | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Innovations in Reference Management Part 1

Posted by selinalock on 19 January, 2010

So, on Thursday January the 14th I made my way down a very foggy M1 to the Innovations in Reference Management Event, hosted by the JISC Telstar Project in Milton Keynes. 

I’m going to break the event down into a couple of posts, so this first one deals with the interesting things people are doing with RefWorks.

Telstar Project: Integrating References into VLE: Moodle & RefWorks (Owen Stephens and Jason Platts)

 The aim of this part of the project was to bring together references in a standard, structured format which could be inserted into course materials, and various parts of the VLE. It also allowed students to download, copy of annotate references so that they could become more active participants.

All OU material and sites have to sue the standard OU Harvard style for references, which has been made available via RefWorks. What bliss, to only have one style for the whole University!  We can only dream…

Reference links with the moodle course site have persistent, dynamic links via OpenURL/SFX where possible, or no links if it’s a printed resource. The students can select the references and export into their moodle, MyStuff area, or RefWorks or collaborative area or download as RIS or RefWorks XML content.

Constructing the reference lists: option in moodle to import the references from a standard data set, which then interacts with RefWorks to produce a OU Harvard style reference list. the same can be done via a RefShare RSS feed. The same system is used for inserting references into OU structured course content using a Word template.

MyReferences moodle module: powered by RefWorks. A “RefWorks Light” that allows students to use RefWorks functionality without leaving the VLE.  So they can create bibliographies within moodle as well. All the data in MyRefs automatically appears in their RefWorks account as well, in case they want to use the full RefWorks functionality at any time (e.g. the cite’n’write options). Staff have extra functionality which allows the creation of shared accounts and reference lists.

To allow students to share references within te VLE they can export them from a reading list to the collaborative area. This creates script which they can then cut and paste into forums etc and it will then be rendered in the MyRefs format to allow others users to select/export etc.

I thought this looked fab for OU students, so they can easily get all the references from their course into their own area and create bibliographies in the OU style, which could be cut and pasted into their assignments. Obviously not an option for Leicester as it is based aroud Moodle modules and no mention of Blackboard equivalent.

Feed me weird things: Using RefWorks RSS for new title lists (Paul Stainthrop, University of Lincoln)

Their catalogue doesn’t have an option to create lists of new resources bought/received so they were still creating manual/printed lists for their users. Paul looked for a way to do this electronically using existing or free resources.

Solution: Subject librarians imported new book data into RefWorks ~ shared the RefWorks folder and created RSS feed ~ yahoopipes was then used to process the feed (takes the ISBN & scrapes Amazon for product description), it formats the html and inserts the book cover from Amazon, creates link back to library catalogue for the title & creates a “clean” RSS feed ~ Googlefeedburner then used to create a short URL & allow email subscription to feed & gives usage stats ~ used Feed2JS (freeware) to create a java script that could be embedded in Blackboard etc.  also includes buttons fro links to services such as export to RefWorks, Catalogue, GoogleBooks & xISBN service (allows notification of new eds).

This looked like a nifty and ingenious solution for a service short on time and resources. Paul was concerned about the stability of the service and whether he’s created an expectation that the same thing could be done for journal table of contents!

With our current RefWorks subscription here at UoL we can’t create shared folders or RSS feeds because we don’t have the RefShare functionality, which is a separate subscription for us early adopters! All newer RefWorks subcription get it included (like Lincoln). In response to me asking about RefSahre at the event one of the RefWorks reps told me that all subscriptions should include RefShare in future, so *fingers crossed* we’ll get extra functionality to play with in future.

The rep also confirmed that the license now includes alumni use – which means any student who creates a RefWorks account while studying with us can continue to use that account free of charge after they leave as long as the University still has a subcription. Yay! Just waiting for official email confirmation before advertising this to students.

Posted in Meetings, Referencing, Research Support, RSS | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

A flick through Ariadne (Nov 09) – open access papers

Posted by gazjjohnson on 25 November, 2009

The latest issue of Ariadne (61) had a number of papers related to open access which I’ve decided to spend a few minutes reading through.

How to Publish Data Using Overlay Journals: The OJIMS Project
Sarah Callaghan, Sam Pepler, Fiona Hewer, Paul Hardaker and Alan Gadian describe the implementation details that can be used to create overlay journals for data publishing in the meteorological sciences.

I was drawn to this article on the back of the workshop for academic staff I’ve been working on in the last couple of weeks.  Whilst this workshop has now been pushed back to March ’10, it did re-awaken my interest in the reuse of repository and open access publications as overlay journals.  A few years back it seemed these were going to be huge, a major growth use of open access materials, but since then very little seems to have emerged.  This paper was looking at a slightly different aspect, that of open access data journals.  Interestingly one of the early issues that emerged from this study was the need for a dedicated journal staff to support the longer term role of any title.  I did like the idea of using the seasons as a guide to the level of peer review items had been subjected to, brining in elements of Web 2.0 collobarative review.  That the work established a business case for data journals, which will doubtless find itself referenced once more than a pilot title is established.

Enhancing Scientific Communication through Aggregated Publications
Arjan Hogenaar describes changes in the publication and communication process which will mean that the role of authors will become a more prominent one.

On a similar theme, this paper looks at aggregation of open access publications and data along a shared theme – termed Enhanced Publication by the author.  Again the social interaction (semantic web) with the research community is noted, with the ability to comment and extend the peer review process for life rather than simple as a static event that happens once in the publication cycle.  I can imagine this idea of ongoing review and comment may feel very alien for some authors, while for others it is a very natural iterative process.  The suggestion that the biggest problem with achieving this is not a cultural but rather a technical one is not something that I agree with 100%; looking at my own experiences in the field of open access.  However, it is a valid point that the tools to achieve this kind of successful aggregation are still emerging and have yet to be tested for true robust delivery and access.

UK Institutional Repository Search: Innovation and Discovery
Vic Lyte, Sophia Jones, Sophia Ananiadou and Linda Kerr describe an innovative tool to showcase UK research output through advanced discovery and retrieval facilities.

This paper looks at the Intute RS search, a service about which I have mixed feelings.  Given that open access discovery is focussed on making research globally accessible, developing a search tool that exclusively looks at UK research seems counter productive.  However, that said the next generation features that this search tool offers are of considerable interest – I’ve long wished for a resource that allows me to manipulate and refine my OA search results, and maybe (just maybe) filter out metadata only records.  For that reason I approached this paper with two minds.  It was an interesting overview, and I found the case example given of the academic searcher well fleshed out – although I’d have been interested in a broader range of alternative end users – members of the public, government, corporate researchers.  It was an interesting overview, and useful background reading for anyone working in the repository world, but hardly an essential read.

The RSP Goes “Back To School” Stephanie Taylor reports on the three-day residential school for repository managers run by the Repositories Support Project (RSP), held on 14-16 September 2009 in Northumberland.

I wasn’t able to go to this even due to other commitments, but Steph’s guide to the event at least gave me a flavour of what I missed.  Some interesting sessions, and some not so by the sounds of it.  Hopefully there’ll be another one in 2010 that I might get the chance to attend.

Posted in Open Access, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Messages from the plenary lecture at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2009.

Posted by emmakimberley on 14 September, 2009

The plenary speakers were each concerned with reminding researcher developers of their formative role in equipping future researchers with the skills needed to enter a changing research environment in the digital age. Interdisciplinarity, web 2.0 and blue-skies research were high on the agenda.

vitaeconference_plenary_b_2008

 Prof. Ian Diamond (chair of RCUK) emphasised that the UK requires a research force who think across disciplines, as well as achieving excellence in their own fields, in order to face the new challenges ahead. These researchers need to be “responsive to new knowledge, new technologies and new strategic economic and social needs”.  

 Prof. Brigid Heywood (Pro VC for Research and Enterprise at the OU) shared her vision of a future researcher capable of reacting to a fast-changing digital academic environment, embedded in an active research community, interacting with other academics and the public on both local and global platforms. This researcher engages in a range of new academic behaviours in a web 2.0 environment. Examples of projects included:

 Prof. Alexandre Quintanilha (Director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Porto) urged the academic community to place less emphasis on the traditional methods of evaluating the quality of graduate training (publication output, funding, etc.) and to focus on training researchers to address some of the major challenges of the 21st century. These challenges often require a mixture of blue-skies thinking and applied thinking, as well as an interdisciplinary approach, involving research methods that have been seen as risky, vague and a threat to disciplinary foundations. Prof. Quintanilha outlined the obstacles facing postgraduates who wish to enter these areas of research that are the most valuable in terms of long-term impact, but frequently also the most challenging in terms of immediate career progression (because of difficulties in publishing and getting funding because they cross evaluation boundaries; unclear departmental affiliation; accusations of lack of focus), and called for graduate training programmes that recognise their role in producing what the research community needs:

  • Curious, imaginative people willing to move across disciplinary and geographical boundaries to follow their dreams
  • People excited about tackling new challenges
  • People prepared for the complex challenge of tackling major world problems of the 21st century

 All three speakers agreed on the importance of developing communities of researchers across disciplinary boundaries, championing academic role models who visibly practise what they teach, and training future academics to be adaptable and responsive to the challenges of a new digital research environment.

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UKCoRR Summer 2009 meeting pt 2

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 August, 2009

Continuing on with the UKCoRR day at Kingston University

Integration of Repositories with other systems, Wendy White, Southampton

This session looked at how the repository interacts with all the other systems that an institution uses.  Not just technologies but people as well, the repository can help identify and nurture your star performer academics.  Recognising the role the repository plays as a knowledge management system.  But also as a location for marketing, to tell stories, myths and legends of your institution’s research is a role the repository can play.  Also the repository managers themselves are the star performers that institutions need to hold on to, by recognising them and ensuring their pay and benefits encourage them to stay.

Integration of Repositories with other systems, Morag Greig, Glasgow

This talk aimed to take a more practical overview of the same issue, which started with Morag giving an overview of Glasgow’s repository.  Like Leicester they aimed to join the repository and publications database together.  It was important to develop policies and procedures to enable departments to engage with the repository on an on-going basis.  Started by going out to talk to HoDs and research chair/champions in each department.  Gathered information on their current practices on how they gathered current procedures.  Self deposit for two depts, mediated for large faculties and proxy for most small to medium sized departments.  Issue with materials in PMC going unharvested.

Training sessions were run for administrators (from 30 depts) including the wider context of OA, something which I think is very important.  Even if you are just adding material to a repository as part of your job, it is important you understand why it is important to academics and the institution as a whole; not to mention the global dimension.  Glasgow are planning a large scale import of data going back to 2001, and adding staff number.

Embed, John Harrington, Cranfield

In this talk John explained how his repo emerging from the embedding phase and into the mature phase.  He looked at the problems they initially faced.  Then he moved to look at the various sweeteners they could use to sell the repository and the publication cycle.  Using a model like Leicester (alerts and request) to obtain materials got a low awareness in the academic community.  They concluded that this was an unsustainable model for scaling up, something I agree with.  RAE didn’t help, but elements of bibliometrics raised importance of the repository which they used as a basis for renewed advocacy push.

Adrian Mschiraju, Royal Holloway

Adrian told a cautionary tale about what happens if it people are seduced by bought in systems.  They have bought Equella an Australian developed system for all purposes teaching objects, research publications, data and theses.  14 months of developer time so far to customise for their purposes – however, had to drop their requirements down to a level that eprints could have done on day 1.  [Post-event I spoke to their developer Alison on twitter, who said actually the picture wasn’t quite as bleak as this – and indeed their repository actually offers a lot more functionality]

Susan Miles, Kingston

Susan talked about maintaining momentum with a repository team over time.  They have 7 people who have editorial rights over their eprints server, which is a considerable number for a smaller institution.  However, repository work has to be competed for with all the other competing demands – these are not dedicated members of staff.  As a team distributed over 4 campuses they have been using Sharepoint to draw the team’s activities drawing together.

Finally Mary Robinson, talked about the UKCoRR repository skills set document which has ended up being used around the world.  Dominic talked about the JISC recruitment tool kit for digital repository projects – which frankly was just the sort of basic things you get told at all kinds of recruitment training and didn’t appear to offer much of novel use – JISC reinventing the wheel again? 

Over all this was another very useful day and gathering of people in the rare position of being repository managers (there’s still less than 100 people in this country in this position – so it’s a very small but active community).  I learned a fair bit and let’s hope I was able to share my own experiences with a fair few people.  Let’s hope it’s not 18 months before the next event.  And maybe we can have it North of the M25 (or on the south coast – I’m not fussy!).

Twitter feed from the event.

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

UKCoRR Summer 2009 meeting pt 1

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 August, 2009

It seemed a long way to go, longer than going to Edinburgh for the Fringe the other week, but in the end thanks to my handy in-laws as an overnight venue, getting to Kingston UIniversity wasn’t such a difficult destination after all.  Aside from some early morning shopping, the event today was all about sharing practical experiences of repository managers.

Keynote: Bill Hubbard, UKCoRR Can!

Bill (SHERPA/Centre for Scholarly Communication, Nottingham) talked about the founding of UKCoRR and the purpose of a membership organisation as a safe haven for repository managers to meet and discuss issues, away from other stakeholders in open access.  He went on to talk about the vision and purpose behind UKCoRR – key among that being the professionalism and recognition within HEIs.  He highlighted the RIN Mind the Skills Gap report as one that illustrated a clear role and need for repositories and their staff, not just libraries, as key partners of all those involved in the research process.  The UK remains a significant global player in the world repositories, and potentially gives us the chance to lead the world.  Need remains to get the disciplinary repository people involved in UKCoRR as well.  NECOBELAC (Latin America, Caribbean and Europe Repo collaboration).

 Repositories should remember simple as a key feature – simple to access, simple metadata and simple content; although in particular the REF will seriously change the role of the repository.  As managers we may need to be able to fight our corner and our significance against competing demands, which we might feel isolates us.  How does the repository know when people are mandated to deposit by funders?  There is a need to be involved in the research process from the start, not as an after the fact activity.  And this is a position few if any HEI repositories are in.

Here is where UKCoRR can help by supporting peer networks, by identifying needs, supporting collaboration, seeking funding, sharing best practice and acting as a voice for we repository mangers.  There is a need for organisations like JISC to be lobbied by UKCoRR to support repository managers and processes from the top down.  If senior administrators and academics hear about this from a body like JISC, then they might just take more note of our concerns and expertise.

Following this talk Jenny Delasalle, Mary Robinson and Dominick Tate talked about their role as the inaugural UKCoRR Committee.

Theo Andrews, Central funds for open access publishing

This talk looked at the open access publishing side of open access, with Theo giving an overview of the current situation.  The Gold OAP Route avoids a lot of the problems.  There are a lot of new publishers jumping on board (e.g. PLOS) but also traditional publishers offering hybrid journals; with the option of the author paying a fee to retain rights or not.  How can this be funded, how can this be managed and how can this change be communicated? 

 Mechanisms for payment in this way are not totally new, with page charges for images in articles being around for years.  Often these have been paid from unallocated fund, and this is not really a sustainable nor easily managed way.  Wellcome Trust awarded additional funds to 30 HEIs, and other HEIs can apply to reclaim costs.  At Edinburgh using this as an opportunity to step in for advocacy, and provide support to managing the funding.  Noted that FEC can be included in calculation for researcher fees in grants. 

The feeds issue means that a lot of different departments and stakeholders within an institution are involved in the issue (finance, research, administrative staff, library, committees etc).  No matter what they do, institutions need to coordinate these funds centrally and along the lines of acceptable standard policies.  Edinburgh will be introducing a mandate in Jan 2010 and are spending the 6 months in the lead up to that talking with departments about how this will impact and how the repository can help them to meet the requirements of this.  Noted that once you have introduced the idea of a central fund to pay for publication, top sliced from research grants, you have to maintain it – even if income decreases.

 Glasgow, Nottingham, UCL, Brunel, Edinburgh, Warwick and Kingston are all already or about to start funding open access funding in a central.  Some Northampton academics very much against the idea of paying to publish though, as a matter of principle. Some publishers offer an OA option – but then increase their embargo to a length that means in order to comply with funders’ mandates, authors need to pay for OA option as IR will not be able to meet the requirements.  As Bill Hubbard put it – “They’re back into a double dipping approach to getting money.”

Event slides are here.

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